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southerners. whether good, bad, however you feel about it. >> for more information on booktv's recent trip to charleston, south carolina, visit content. >> what are you reading this summer booktv wants to know. ..
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>> [applause] [applause] >> thank you very much. thank you. thank you. thank you. thank you very much. thank you so much. a quick explanation of what exercise. creativity of the lyric as well as a war of conflict. and it so happens -- i was wrong
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by the way. someone talked about the seven-word bio i had a request for a 50-word bio so i tried to make it easily. and it can for the simple reason i was talking about mythology tonight. and one of the greatest myths. i happened to be a disciple of ogmf. i never wholeheartedly embraced mentors. humpy dumpy sat on the wall. it sound audience relation or begin to a sad note and then move to euphoric. i am as many of you aware a
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compulsive mythologists and nothing would have been more fulfilling than to stand here and affirm if deletingful piece of mythology. it concerns the name where we're all gathered today and myself of a miller. it's something to bring myself to the debunk mythology especially as it linked me also to one of the greatest work of the cinema that i've have celebrated that being marilyn monroe, whom i never met in real life. like any former prisoner i remain deeply appreciated of the efforts of the literary world, human rights organizations, which is amnesty international, et cetera, to obtain my liberty from the nigerian government here from the african war of cessation. 1966 to '69.
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those who doubt these efforts of immense value to the physical and moral welfare of the prisoner, even if they do not immediately lead to his or her relief, of the prisoners themselves and another colleagues and organizations a little more seriously. i could not perceive any indication of these efforts through the normal channels. while incarcerated. but as with most prisons, news has a way of percolating even the stoutest war. i was aware by letters that i had never forgotten my letters. arthur letter were the formatter of educators on my behalf and i was able to thank him when i eventually left and here comes the moment.
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i'm afraid my release had nothing to do with his then being married to marilyn monroe. l[laughter] >> i became the truth of it from impeccable sources including from the man who signed both my detentions and release orders. i'm afraid marilyn monroe had nothing to do with it. now, instead of pining of suspiciouses of writing letters, he dispatched marilyn monroe as ambassador. i'm convinced i would have been released much earlier. here's thought and beauty proved mightier than the pen beauty would have shattered the general swords in no time.
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i wish that were true. and with the pursuit of beauty in the creative enterprise i'm not speaking here have butte i'm not speaking of the mythological to the mythical for which i will back. it's not equate indisputable so who wills indisputable claim and the international and singularly inappropriate and deserving and to make up of the disoperation of the liberation of one writer, that very writer now lays personal claim to the liberation of entire peoples from the dictatorship, a veritable tsunami that began in the maghreb had swept through north
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africa to the middle east congealing alas as i write this in the stubborn bloodstained areas of yemen and libya. i can see an enabling role in this human transformation but i insist on the lion's share of myself. the eruption of the vitals of chain is deemed the revolutionary outbreak by some of us call it popular upper risings to which have other names and some is known and understood as all as simply freedom. finally, even freedom has a rich and varied menu. not without it, rationalization there is freedom to accept domination, freedom to accept power's control over individual
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choice, will, including even exercise of fort. some scripture actually propose that freedom cannot only be found in the act of smick. green tracks have been devoted to our thesis. seminaries of every form of religious podium. the freedom to listen also to the mockery of one's voice bouncing back and diminishing echoes from walls controlled by the power. and freedom to walk within the proximity of walls rather than on the outside. freedom even to meditate on the nature of walls especially of the kind in tuned with barbed wires bristling with guns and lying with antipersonnel minds and an invisible electronic guidance. and many clones of the berlin
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wall. freedom is about power. freedom to project freedom on walls but never actually breach walls into other kinds of freedom. there's also the freedom of exile, which is no freedom at all but a crippling arm from strength. some have found freedom in collaboration with power. others, however, experience freedom in the very impulse that make them get on their broomsticks, levitate and charge hopefully not knock humpy dumpy of his gilded wall. >> and what are they talking about? are they free to breed like rabbits within my domain? i see that i've already invoked one of my favorite accessories or delineating the writers
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education. the property of richry or saucery. as i radio to justify that cooperation as we proceed but first the grounds of my statement of claim in the stakes of the recent tidal wave of liberation. in december of last year, i fulfilled an invitation to deliver electricity to the african development bank in tunis where the world, media has testified it all began. do take careful note of the interlinkage of individual and institutional as well as myth lon cal players as we pursue the unfolding of history aided and abetted as i say of mythology, the classic kind.
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the actual headquarters which some may recall have been on the world's radar much further back than the marine 2010/2011 addition might say. as a result of the earlier civil war that functionally split the nation in two, the very issue of electrical enfriesment numerous businesses and institutions wisely relocated to safety. the african development bank among them. a week or two my departure fortunis in december, i received a note from the writers in prison committee of international pen requesting that i use the occasion to address the situation of literary life and some imperiled nigerian writers.
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here's an excerpt from the address. it's a bit longest but, of course, it's not only pertinent of its occasion but it also affords me a chance to talk about. so here goes. i said i perceive no difference between secular conduct and instances of religious intolerance that move to fundamentalist cleansing of society such as resulted in the near martyrdom. a victim of brainwashed youth, indoctrinated by the powerful voices of bigotry, intolerance and ignorance. and i may not remind us of those
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extreme instances of what is next door in nigeria as writers, intellectuals, musicians and journalists to write their last will and testament to set off to earn a day's living. as they never knew what they may have written or spoken cancelled on their trail back down for elimination. why do intellectual have a duty to humanity that it's the primary concept in overall development, thus, the guard. in africa today, we even claim that within this modest delineation of its functions, the intellectual writer is even guaranteed survive, i recall the
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fate of the writer to hide his work. he did not escape the calling card of the dogmatic. were these merely exception to an rule or were we enduring with an intellectual phenomenon. was it an extreme writer of the intellectual out of zone of bigotry and the tour of conformity even of the power of the informal power requires in order to make itself manifest? there's no difference. no difference, whatsoever. between the hermetic cost of mind that eliminates such human asset in the name of religion on its spectacular counterpart that guarantee the end of the world
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of uganda, drive out drivers and scholars. et cetera, et cetera, into prolong exile. writers and intellectuals also form association, local and international. both to cater for the welfare for their members as well as contribute to human situation. one must ask why an organization like pen international is classified as an illegal organization in a supposedly enlightened nation like tunisia where some of its members are subjected to routine harassment? among them let me single out in the immediate, two writers currently surfing writers. being on trial for politically
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motivated charges. to what minds are excluded for national productivity. whose hideous construction of security needs have been sacrificed? there is a sad way across the continent north to south east to west an echo that narrow rates that deer taxpayeriation -- deterioration and mugabe locked in an ultimate state burial even if the nation over which they preside over themselves are buried in the rubble of offensive power. well, familiar protests on behalf of our literary tribe, full of sound and fury and perhaps dignifying little. what would you think happened the moment when i uttered the
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names? there was an instant blackout. understand this, it's not nigeria. the levels of development are so wide apart i always find it a abuse of categorization to refer to both of developing or underdeveloped countries. blackouts i would later affirm have dubbed an experience of most of my audience. in the burden of my nation's culture of infrastructural decay that i felt compelled to apologize for the audience for having bringing about the contamination of tunisia. well, for about 10, 15 minutes of the blackout was brief. fortunately, it was not too large a hole.
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but i tested it for acoustics with my iron lung. when the audience in the back resumed i was audible i resumed only to be stopped. they apologized and pointed out the event was being simulcast on the continent where the adp brafrnlz thus we had to choice but to wait it took a while but power was eventually restored. now, i have the most unusually my mind does not embark on any conspiracy theory. it's one of the things and i dismissed the incident. however, after reception the following day two adp officials pulled me aside and urged to be circumspect for the rest of my stay. i was assigned a minder just to be on the safe side. my hosts have been quietly informed by their tunisian
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counterparts within displeasure in the system of my comment and reveal that a blackout was no accident. but appeared that the moment that i embarked on a condemnation of the government's active place in pen under interdiction the ever present listening ears pricked up and the response was automatic well oiled and efficient. power could be cut and the microphones silenced. in this liberal tunisian society i would encounter other indications of a police state to blatant manifestations of totalitarian infiltration of public and even private events. yes, power was cut off but now power has also been snuffed out. as we say in nigeria, now, to
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put simply making extravagant claims for the act of timing, let me remind you i come from a culture where names have meaning. and some of these i would denote unseen mythological powers. so this super national connotation to name let all infidels beware. it means i'm surrounded by sorcerers, sorcerers all in the same family. the nigerian life struggle is the god of life and thunder. either i-emanations are invested in the domain of fire. in lightening today ates a technological world into the god
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of electricity. and you will encounter a huge modern statue out of the marine headquarters of the electricity corporation much to the distress of the deity and it's the public source utility in the entire land. indeed, it's a wonder that an angry uncle has not blasted structure with a direct lightening of the hit with associating his image. well, maybe it's a institution that protects it from define institution. by the struggle sort of electricity it's tuneedsian powers angered the two powers that be who watched and then proceeded to show them the full range of transcendental power.
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there once lived a colorful personality in this part of the world, a preacher named father divine. since his material was rhetoric. he was sentenced to a long term prisonment in which it was a politically motivated miscarriage of justice and he turned to the judge and said something to the effect of, you wait and see what happens to you. a few days later, the judge was dead. the define was woken up in prison and that was his reaction. frankly, not missing a beat thereby hit it. by father define had such warnings constantly but they never claimed responsibility when the inevitable happened. i think it's about time but
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modesty was abandoned. the guardian sorcerers who surround us pass a message the turbulent deity whose province is the administration of retributiontive justice. let's not forget also the immediate trigger of the tunisian revolution. trouble, self-sacrifice and agent who set himself on fire. it was no accident and i hope he recovers fully so i can visit, commiserate and celebrate with him. i shall console him, assure him that he has been possessed by trouble. incinerated the status quo even letting fire on his body. there was trouble in his own
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person, why not? of the mythologists, of course, figures of ambiguity never straightforward black and white. cruelty is part of the game -- as is benevolence, justice, and there's other virtues but then think of all christian martyrs and heretics who in the way in defense of a conviction or simply engage in the mission that their faith purged and we can go on and on in that direction and i would only arri arrive. at this stage of human development such a high price has to be paid again and again on behalf of such a busy commodity that is in the intangible request of humanity. the freedom to think, the
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freedom to move, thought into expression that is to communicate; otherwise, what's used is thought. freedom to explore, interrogate and critique the boundaries of seeming reality, yes, that's all reality that endid you see in so many nations. in some cases upwards of half a century or century only to collect the expression administered by the creative temperament that refuses to be circumscribed or constricted and the eternal cry of humanity, freedom. and the orthodoxy secular or religious. they are the wichita, kansas, the sorcerers of the apparent tran sending the limitations of reality. i'm going to bore you here with
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allied victories or some other pretenders of reality. egypt, libya -- well, maybe one more, just a quick word on libya. in case some of you skeptics believe that tunisia was just a fluke. again, a number of us, not just writers were honored with the rather impressive title of africa excellence awards. among there was bishop dez month tutu and the president of the world bank, a president of the suits africa and the director general of that bastian of knowledge, the library of alexandria. many people do not know this is also a writer and a shakespearean critic.
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there's delivered measured lectures in defense of the freedom of expression in the arab world. about a year ago he was menaced by a religious zealot calling for an end of clerical interference and censorship in matters of science and culture. all together, it was congenial human environment in which to submit to the rituals of honor and the delights of ghana, itself no stranger for the trauma of long military dictatorship. alas, there was among us one unbelievable incongruity. the sentence of mohammed gadhafi. i give the story there's quite a lot of us on the list would rather avoid and so we muttered implications from across cultural mythologies. in so much more formal language
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took away our feelings of the administering foundation. so there's something between our administrative and/or diplomatic tactics. succeeded in keeping the dictator away from the occasion but his medals, certificates, and robes of honor were taken to him in tripoli where he was formally invested by a delegation. before gadhafi had read his na-dia, they did not mention about wary of the greeks when they come bearing gifts. that model would be far too mundane. anyone can hide soldiers in the belly of a wooden horse. it's against injustice and much closer there are powers. and even killing or more specifically burning from a myth lon cal expertise, gadhafi had known about the powers of sympathetic magic he would never have allowed the delegation to
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put those robes on him. he arrived impregnated by a near flippancy of tyranny brought ahead by the gathering of witches. however, the continent had begun to speak. ghost of victims into the seams of those robes had begun the empire of libya who had invested in his own person. enough of gloating. we have to admit that the process of prizing these monsters of their pedestals are slow. the humpy dumpy have the capability that boggles the mind and the antihuman determination.
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and the local equivalence of the berlin wall, that seemingly eternal symbol of a human propensity of the enslavement of its own kind, especially in the name of dogma. each is convinced that he has found the secret that other fall idols fails to honor. when the crush of this ideological enclosure took a role of monsters, a wind of euphoria swept through the world but in the end, it appeared that no sooner one buried under the walls of his own construction that a filled in the local humanity and bottled up their horses then another himself especially on the heap of bodies. ..
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>> still writing it out on his own wall, blotting out the horizon for others with his grossly inflated ego. these obscenities accuse us, alas, of suffering deficiency, remedies for which we must continue to pursue in both tried and tested and completely innovative means. when the life of a salman rushdie or another literary tribesman is declared open season for all religious or secular psychopaths, we should, as i proposed at the time,
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organize an unmanned aerial -- [inaudible] of those contemporary broom sticks known as the hot air balloons, load the wicker baskets with the allegedly offending material and using the latest witchcraft technology known as remote control, spew their contents all over humpty dumpty's wall. sooner or later true power will lend a hand -- [inaudible] sure to visit our geography of of -- [inaudible] and see the momentum that was begun north of the continent has carried not only southwards to sudan, the congo and zimbabwe, but further eastward to places like iran where writers and protagonists of their rights of the mind and the existence of daily insecurity under one form of menace to another; where
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activists, male and female, old or young are still secretly hanged in this -- in state prisons. paranoia has all but stifled the freedom that attaches to all forms of creativity, turning them into furtive exiles. i do not attach to my view of a literary occupation if only through its antiquity as not too distant there that of witchcraft or sorcery. raised against this calling is humpty dumpty. as much from the famous english nursery rhyme as from original illustrations of -- [inaudible] that is grossly inflated paunch surrounded by a clinical hat of a dunce. finally, the reporter which is a different breed on the witches of salem or --
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[inaudible] depicted by writers like maurice conde or animate entities evolve, and these include witches and writers. the methods adjusted as much by environment as by the challenges of the moment. today's witches ride motor cars and prepare even antique model like rockets. it is quite possible that the very first witches, in fact, were writers or vice versa, that writers evolved from witches. just an idea. we know, however, that words are instable, yet they can exorcise the force of magic. and the celebration of the word, therefore, is, indeed, an homage to the power of transformation which is how literature ends its very right of existence. in which terms forms a giant into a monster, a monster into a
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mouse, evaporates castles by mere incantation as does the writer by will and by word. the word does not aim to transform, to alter the shape of reality before our very eyes, then it is usurping valuable space even in the virtual realm. and then as far back as we can rely on the aural narratives of societies and, of course, in documented history and literature, even right up to this moment, witches have always been considered a most disruptive variant of the human species. they peered into the human soul and dared proclaim what they discerned within. they have this strange faculty of foresight, the courage to probe into the future. or they were believed to pez it which came -- to possess it which came to the same thing
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since it carried with it near identical consequences. in truth they were simply no more than shrewd psychologists endowed with normal patience, but the actual claims are not really important. what matters was what society believed them capable of, especially power. even if in a curative exercise the witch made use of the same herbs and potions that others prescribed for coughs, rheumatism or epileptic fits -- [inaudible] came from an alleged witch imbued the same medications with supernatural powers in the opinion of society and, thus, made the prescriber guilty of something that smacked of the abnormal or subversive. accompanied by the word in any form, material life took on an empowerment or enhancement of potency that it lacked on its own. the victims of america's infamous salem witch hunt
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dramatized so memorably in "the crucible" were -- [inaudible] by president clinton, 400 years after their torture and hanging. but i believe it is right that society revisit these collective, infectious and often terminal imbecilities if only to remind ourselves of the unfinished business of -- [inaudible] tolerance, the right of dissent, openness to the unyule or mystifying. in sort, simply remind us that humpty dumpty or his orwellian successor, big brother, is still seated on the wall. sorcery and witchcraft are more than mere metaphors. [inaudible] only a few years ago, the
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declaration denouncing the entire harry potter industry, the product of diabolism and abuse of impressionable minds. clerics of all faiths simply cannot bear the rapture of reality, never mind that all faiths are founded on that very exercise of imaginative projection. mind you, the position of the vatican could be put down to mere professional jealousy. [laughter] and i do not mean simply in the business of appropriating realms beyond the real. no, talking now material, you know, things. speaking of comparative earning powers. religious, religious stocks have been falling of late. imagine how much the roman catholic church has had to shell out in composition for sexual abuses of youth by its own priests. -- [inaudible]
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abused of their minds -- abuse of their minds continues to rake in the millions, but who knows? there the vatican would probably find support among us writers. no writer has the right to make that much money. [laughter] indeed, without diabolical assistance, no writer can. [laughter] so well -- [inaudible] watch me race to strike that match. but what departs from that region of envy? what, after all, is at stake? in truth, just the human voice. but what a primordial commodity this is. a compatriot and friend who never lets anything pass that he thinks might be of interest to me sent me a clipping from "the new york times" only a few weeks ago. accompanying the linkage were the words, "i'm indeed ecstatic to send this to you." i down loaded the attachment, and there it was, the origin of
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language, the latest verdict on that subject now declares began on the continent of africa. now, clearly, we have a stake in the fortunes of our faculty. here are some snippets. a researcher found that languages spoken around the world had detected an ancient signal that points to southern africa as a place where modern human language originated. further, we learned that -- [inaudible] of africa have more than 100 -- [inaudible] towards the far end of the human migration route out of africa has only 13. english has about 45 -- [inaudible] fascinating for those of us who could never attempt -- [inaudible] [laughter] it is the observation of one dr. mark pagill that when the
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secret, combative spiral in my dna. he declares language is our secret weapon, and as soon as we got language, we became a really dangerous species. i have a feeling that, like me, most of us here are, frankly, not all that ecstatic as my countryman about the possibility that the origin of language may, indeed, be traced to one's continent rather than another's. we are or should be far more exorcised by who ultimately controls it. the humpty dumpties, or the witches' sorcerers. the ideal answer, of course, is that no one should. and this translates into not censorship, but watchfulness. this is where the real battle lies. and it is no trivial contest. it's on the subject of a nobel acceptance speech of harold pinter in stockholm where he
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denounced the manipulative words both in the context of the war in yugoslavia and, of course, of the infamous u.s./iraqi war. now on the continent now credit with the the origin of human speech -- [inaudible] with the horrors inflicted on language by one ruler or another ever since colonial times and not only in the language of the indigents, but in the language of colonial imposition. this corruption, let us note, is done without the slightest embarrassment at forging an alliance with the very instruments of presentation, dispossession and disdain. and for identical purposes. turned yet again against their own kind once under colonial subjugation. let's not speak in the abstract. when opposition mounted in zimbabwe some years ago,
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opposition became most intense among the sprawling, makeshift early settlements, mugabe sent in his brown shirts, the rag-tag veterans to wipe out the teeming of a populated stronghold of opposition. brown shirts, surely that analogy is carrying things too far, but wait a minute. the naming proves historically appropriate. brown shirts in this instance have a privilege of naming, it's not even one of external appropriation, but reclamation. i cannot swear that language felt it or did not originate in africa, but africa it was that gave birth to the word "brown shirt," and its cig any cases. a recent work, the kaiser's
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holocaust subtitled "germany's colonial genocide and the african roots of -- [inaudible] documents that trajectory, a work that should serve to jog memories and serve warnings. jog memories that have been occluded by the enormous, the enormity of its actualization on german soil. the word originated in the media when an experiment in ethnic cleansing -- another abuse of language -- would later at tape hour horrendous -- [inaudible] were the early guinea pigs of the germanic purist solutions, and the brown shirt that is today associated with adolf hitler's hit squad and the rise of nazi germany was the uniform, khaki tropical shirts and shirts favored by the german colonists
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who masterminded africa's colonial -- [inaudible] of the final solution. even the nazi concentration camps were originally conceived and practicallized on the continent, a project that aimed at nothing less than the extermination of the people. some of the initiatives of the people, massacres and race attrition, recalled or retired to germany were personally evolved, they or their relations, in the planning and execution of germany's internal scourge of race purification. language, said the cited psychologist, was our secret weapon. and as soon as we got language, we became a dangerous species. how true. there is the baseline. that is why the conflict is unseasoned. the primal struggle for that primal weapon, language, it uses, abuses and controls.
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yes, language has more to it than the mere mechanics of adescription. often it supplies the building blocks of a people's history, as much of it ennobling as of the dispiriting kind. the veterans of zimbabwe's anticolonial struggle were heros of liberation and self-sacrifice. today thanks to one individual that can only be associated -- they can only be associated through power conversion with brown shirts. africa -- [inaudible] linguistic history but, regrettably, of the most -- not of the most edifying kind. of course, factors quite external to language help, although there again we have to be careful in determining what truly constitutes language. what peter sellers in the film, "dr. strangelove," how he came
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to stop worrying and love the atom bomb, for instance. no gesture is more eloquent and satirical but grim than whenever that comic actor attempts to control his arm from snapping up into horizontal, familiar nazi salute. then cut to mugabe, pumping the air in a possible imitation or of his competitive, rampant best aided and abetted by that parsimonious but evocative smudge on his upper lip that tries to pass for the iconic hitlerian moustache. but we shall forget external leads and stick to the bare bones of the articulated word and not as prejudicially -- [inaudible] by this speaker. i began to refer to the unambiguous entry of the pro he proletariat at the forefront of the zimbabwean revolt. there's no further possibility
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of keeping up the rhetoric. there is only the white racist land-governing settlers that were active against this progressive defender of black african interests. but, starkly, incon to incontrovertibly retched of the earth. it is against these that mugabe deployed his brown shirts and bulldozers. but was he flummoxed when confronted with evidence of this further dehumanization of islam dwellers of zimbabwe? no. the explanation, there's nothing more than a normal exercise in urban sanitation. those words send a chill down my spine, but it is a familiar chill. had the world not been allow today forget a similar massacre by that same humpty dumpty, a massacre that took place with the participation of mercenaries from north korea and is reliably
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recorded to have claimed between 10,000 and 20,000 lives of humanity of both genders and be from geriatrics to the infants often in the most sawtist tick manner. -- sadistic manner. it is a word, an expression of self when subvert today the service of such power enable the frailtieses that proves especially traumatizing. the mind, especially of an african raised within a continent whose apartheid policies lasted most of his maturing years, does not require much instigation to wonder how the language of urban sanitation differed from the policy of apartheid south africa which wiped out black habitations to create a -- [inaudible] between black urban settlements and the ruling white minority of that society. the language of apartheid was near identical. society must be cleansed of the
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designated dregs of society. in reality, the poor or -- [inaudible] dissidents suddenly rendered homeless by the hundreds of thousands. all that was left as they were herded in makeshift prisons was that primordial expression, the voice. it is his voice that is picked up by reports, the urban songsters and their fellow beings in proof of their human validation. no, we're not speaking only of the celebrated -- [inaudible] of the communities, not of the testimonies of their cos no pollan protagonists at pen and other international gatherings. no, we're speaking of that primordial whose members transcend the world on which their spokesmen and women glide on broom sticks to lunge at humpty dumpty enthroned on his
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wall of deception, constriction and domination. we're speaking of the denizens of that world who emerge from their degradation to speak in a language of their own, from whose inland community in number gather once in a while on occasions like this to compare notes, relishing -- why not? -- the momentous break from those zones of state-intended urban sanitation where humanity is not even allowed to stick its rags and plug out it fleas in the peace. unless, of course, it first surrenders that primary possession; its transforming voice. it is a ploy of power and its act lite to propose that such cosmopolitan voices are divorced from their -- [inaudible] and their foreign masters. the people, however, know the true source from which their language derives, and it is not the language of you urban
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sanitation. speaking, for instance, if i may shift medium a little of the inscriptions on the signs of -- [inaudible] and other forms of improvised public transport which travel over the rot and potholes and filth line paths, herding goods and human cargo from drudgery to their survival. i sometimes call them mobile mirrors ask call anticipation -- attention to them at the gatherings of rulers in my own continent. some of you who have been to africa may have travel inside those vehicles. -- traveled in this those vehicles. they carry summaries of their expectations and warnings to power and privilege. expressions of protest and -- [inaudible] inserted into the gulf that separate their idyllic vista from the reality they are compelled to endure. one in particular you may have
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encountered on the book shelves without awareness of its origin. it goes, "the beautiful -- spelled ty -- are not yet born." that caption was appropriated with acknowledgment by the georgia knee yang novelist and came out in the '60s. reality at the time, a truthful elaboration of that saying since he knew firsthand the terrain that had produced that shorthand of a pessimistic, lament bl -- [inaudible] here's another from my part of the world. it goes,. [speaking in native tongue] it means "the falling leaf, however large, shall not crush the smaller." watch the example of the big leaf, mr. big man, says that painter/poet. when with it detaches, it simply
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floats gently to the ground and settles over the smaller one, even protectively. not bruising it, not crush it, simply because it is bigger. another, in this broken english, chop small, quench small. chop big, quench big. which is, obviously, addressed to our humpty dumptieses who eat up a nation's resources indifferent to the consequences. chop means eat. eat small, die small. quench means die. but eat big, die big. that shorthand rivals its prophetic succinctness another of my all-time favorites. the hurricane of change. it seems to be the favorite, also, of all the west african countries i've visited, and it goes "no condition is
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permanent." yes, we're speaking of those voices of the frustrated and disenfranchised whose -- [inaudible] seize the opportunity of barack obama's avenn dense into power in the united states to launch a song that went, "it is easier for a law to become president of the united states than to be president of uganda." the language of that song was played enough for even the dumbest audiences, but the lesson was not taken to heart. uganda underwent the most horrifying outbreak of urban violence bordering on the very collapse of humanity. and yet others had also warned in extended parables and direct polemics giving voice to the season of discontent that had begun to stretch into an eternity. prisons and detention laws had only built up behind them the
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tidal waves that eventually engulfed uganda. the unheeded voices reverted to their primordiality where articulation was no longer capable of modulation. oh, yes, indeed, there's always been a life and death contest for the appropriation of the human voice, a contest that takes many forms. they can only call text, for instance, secular or divine as for, perhaps, the most deadly of these control ploys. the ultimate work demands that nothing is left for any other human to utter or think. in our technological age, this is accompanied by closure of alternative channels and even seizure of communication resources. the world's ideological ve hem chance from stalin to the chinese gang of four, et, made it their life mission to stifle
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and extinguish such textual propositions as did not adhere to theirs; the bible, the koran, hindu or buddhist texts. while those, some of those at least in turn did their best to repay the complement wherever they were established. the taliban, for instance, on overrunning -- [inaudible] but then their president for which one needs not travel as far back in antiquity as the roman catholic index. apartheid south africa, for instance w a list of banned books or malawi's censorship list, etc., etc., all currents of communism's internal and mutually-destructive literary controls. consider the amount of anti-literary energy that was expended over works, over which works of literature were ideologically correct or
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incorrect. the latter grouped as reactionary, undialectic products of -- [inaudible] etc., etc. variations of these contests survive until today in many parts of the third world, extreme disciples which still roam the jungles, the mountains or urban settlements of nigeria armed with definitive texts and other productive texttology that explicate the history and destiny of mankind from birth to death and excommunicate all others. one such surfaced in nigeria calls it -- [inaudible] translated as "death to all books. "um, except, of course, only one: theirs. it quite young career has
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already resulted in the extermination of hundreds. some of you may have read, and the rampage goes on until today. only my book -- [inaudible] moammar gadhafi could not wait to get in on the act. many people believe that he remains simply obsessed with power and domination of the political kind. yes, unquestionably. but we tend to ignore the fact that he was also a writer. oh, yes, he did write. remember the green book? that dead on arrival text on which he spent the revenue from millions of barrels of oil to promote as a great rival to other supertexts such as chairman mao's red book or the communist manifesto. that was the first prophetic form of that humpty dumpty, the attempt to turn a juvenile tract into a text for all ages with a lavishly-funded international conference staged in this very country where the great guru,
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rabin, appeared via satellite. it is good for us that dictators also insist on their own freedom to write. [laughter] the world remains the most accommodating -- the word, i beg your pardon, the word remain the most accommodating vehicle for human communication. hence, its centrality in the evolution of social man. man did not develop language simply because he had the highest developed speech organs. that development commenced simply because man needed to communicate. an activity that takes place even without the physiological organs of speech. this by no means diminishes the power of the word it, even on the inanimate or invisible. examples -- [inaudible] tablet exhumed quite recently with writing that was addressed
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directly to the then-rampaging plague imploring it to leave town. like the tablet, the healer in my own society, for instance, let's say he had to treat a snakebite. he'd make an incision, rub the spot with some herbal extract, then he'll proceed to bombard the venom in the bloodstream with incantations. what is he saying? be in effect, but far more lyrical, evocative language is, hey, you villainous son of a snake, i know you're in there. come out at once and be leave this man in peace. in some islamic usages, koranic texts are made to serve a similar purpose, only they are written, not orally delivered. the text goes on a slate, is washed into a bowl. part of it is rubbed on the patient's head while the rest is given to him to drink.
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obviously, if the text did not matter, this patient would just have been treated with the swallow of the ink directly. without its transformation into written religious commands. no matter the culture. one finds that from time immemorial communication has been developed to the highest levels of even the they were piewtic arts -- therapeutic arts. communication in be an animistic world or, indeed, among religions which look down on the belief systems of our an mitch or ancestor worship, yet firmly acknowledge the existence of unseen forces, all these place all such societies on the same level of reverence for the potency of the word. they all acknowledge the existence of invisible forces with whom logically forms of communication must be devised; oral, written or symbolic. humanity, it is clear, has never
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been content to communicate only with his own immediate neighbor. we know that even prayers are not necessarily spoken. prayer wheels and controls are a feature of a number of asian religions just as some prayers are painted onto kites and then released into the wind. with such undeniable universality, the security, indeed, transcendentalism in man's immediate the communicate with his kind and even with other worldly species, is it really conceivable that the word can be left to the prove nance of a minority? if self-appointed power elitist aren't representative, an often unconscionable minority, the attempt will always be made somewhere, somehow i and per -- per sintly. and so the battle lines remain
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drawn between humpty dumpty and the witches and sorcerers of the world. despite the watch tours proclaim the latter, the word shall fly. and to win this battle as they have won it again ask again despite losses, despite setbacks, despite a numbing sense of -- [inaudible] curse, fighting the same battle over and over again. they are energized, however, because the very mobility of the masthead inscription on the conveyance that takes the witches to battle have summed it all up. -- [inaudible] for the origin of language it, that inscription is native to the people of a continent that contested the arrogance of colonialism. it was transported into europe, demarcated by the inhumanity of the berlin wall, returned to the southern part of the african continent in a renewed assault
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on the world's apartheid, newly shimmers across the north african landscape from where it has left a fireball into the middle east. in short, continues to carry the battle to species of freedom-deprived humanity, spaces hitherto thought impregnable. nothing more mysterious than a simple, poetic and prophetic inscription that reads: no condition is permanent. or to try to be a little more original, most suited to a culture of cash stickers; dump dumpty. thank you. [laughter] [applause] >> for more on the pan world voices festival, visit
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>> well, july was a busy month in publishing news what with the liquidation of borders, and now there's been an update with the google book settlement. sarah weinman is the news editor of "publishers marketplace." sara weinman, what's the latest on the google book settlement? >> well, there was a hearing that took place on july 19th where judge jenny chen heard from various parties with respect to the settlement, and from what news accounts reported, he wasn't terribly happy at the current state of things. the bottom line is that both parties want more time. and even though judge chen fronted an extension, the next hearing will be september 15th, he's really pushing for something to happen. and if, um, the two opposing parties, google and the authors' guild and the association of american publishers working in tandem, if they can't seem to
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come to some sort of agreement, then judge chen intimated that he may have to come to some sort of ruling and, essentially, force the issue. he would also like to see just more things happening. this hearing has been delayed and delayed all summer long, originally there was something associationed to happen in april, then it was june, then it was july. now we're being pushed off until september. and after so many years, i mean, the original lawsuit happened around six years ago or so, and the fact that judge chen has already moved, he's been promoted up to the second court of appeals, he's, you know, this is one of his outstanding cases in the southern district. he would really like to have some forward motion and some progress, and he wasn't seeing that. >> sarah weinman, who did the delay benefit, if anyone? >> you know, that's a very good question. um, i suspect it possibly might
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benefit google more because they seem to have the least to lose. after all, so many of these books have been scanned, um, in a related development they're selling e-books. it's not really, i suppose, in, necessarily in their interests to see something happen, but at the same time i'm not really sure it's in anyone's best interests. ultimately, everyone would like to see some sort of resolution. nobody really wants to see another trial. no one would like to see more collar -- dollars spent, perhaps needlessly, to keep this going. i have a feeling we'll have greater answers, one would hope, on september 15th. >> and booktv will continue to cover the google book settlement. sarah weinman, publishers is the web site. thank you.
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>> jason ryan, local author of the book "jackpot," sat down with booktv when we visited charleston, south carolina, to check out the rich culture. up next, an overview of mr. ryan's book. >> operation jackpot was a major federal drug investigation in the early 1980s that caught south carolina's gentlemen marijuana smugglers. these were unique smuggers in that -- smugglers in that they were nonviolent and college educated. traveling first to florida, then came back up the coast to south carolina when law enforcement heat got too heavy in south florida. in south carolina they found a smugglers' paradise. there's mile after mile of marsh with tons of inlets and rivers for them to bring in books packed full of pot. they rarely got caught, and it wasn't until the early 1980s when the federal investigation was launched to try and find these men. the government wasn't sure who was smuggling, they just knew
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someone was and that someone was making a lot of money, so they started a financial operation called operation jackpot tracking down real estate purchases and luxury car purchases to find out who these smugglers were. eventually, they caught and convicted more than 100 marijuana smugglers tracking some of them down this manhunts that stretched from australia to california. i spent a lot of time talking about two kingpins, barry and les. both moved to south florida in the early '70s but came back to south carolina to begin their kingpin years. they were wild, crazy, they decided to take boats to jamaica, colombia, lebanon. there was nowhere, really, that they wouldn't go as long as they could make some money. but even though they were so crazy, they were also principled. they refused to carry guns and would not engage in violence. they all reasoned there was more money to be made, so why hurt a potential business partner? >> how did they get into drug smuggling? >> they were a little bit bored with life. they didn't want to follow in the footsteps of their fathers who were bankers, barbers, they
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wanted more adventure and excitement. they loved the lifestyle that drug smuggling could afford them. they would bring the drugs in through, always would find isolated coastline with docks. um, often they would have back-up spots so in case law enforcement patrols were in one area, they had a backup. the perfect place would be somewhere that was far from development, far from any kind of major urban population where they could bring a couple trucks, load them with pot, put them on the road towards major cities. >> so you said the government started going after major purpose bees like boats and cars. how did they know these men weren't just well to do? >> well, they were a little young to be owning homes on cape cod and on hilton head, for example, which was beginning to be a resort commitment. also a little young to be driving rolls royce vehicles and owning some of the finest sailboats in the world. a few of them were fond of
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wearing fur coats and gold o jewelry. they stuck out. but in places like miami that was awash with drug smugglers, they could blend in a little bit. but when they came home to south carolina, they stuck out like a sore thumb. kingpins were all across the world hiding. a number of smugglers were rounded up, but the big guys could not be found. they tracked them down to australia, new york city, la jolla, california, and denver, colorado. the manhunts were intensive and relied on the testimony of former friends to find these men. the trials also lasted for a couple weeks at a time but stretched over a period of years. many be of the kingpins could not be found when the initial trial started, but the evidence at home was building up against them as more and more of their former business partners testified against them and evidence was presented of the crimes committed. by the time they were finally caught, few of the kingpins' cases went to trial. kick pin is a -- kingpin is a
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formal term, and it requires at least ten years in prison, so at a minimum these kingpins all received ten years. some received 25-year sentences, one received a 40-year sentence, and he died in the prison. because there was possibility of parole, many of them ended up doing less time than expected. now some of them have passed away, but others are still alive leading lives much quieter than the ones they had previously have. their lives today lack the glamour and excitement of years past, but nonetheless they have interesting stories to tell and are happy to share them. >> how did you come across the story? >> i had met a smuggler's daughter a few years back, and she had not seen her father in 25 years owing to his status as a fugitive. he had fled in 1983, and he was caught in 2008 coming across the border from the mexico. his story was amazing in it, but he was only one of the many gentlemen marijuana smugglers.
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i heard the story, and i was intrigued. i learned he was not the only marijuana smuggler, there were dozens like him, and he was a minnow among marlins. there were men with names like bob the boss, barry "flash" foy. you couldn't make it all up, and i was amazed no one had written a book yet. >> and this is your first book. how did you find the experience? >> very satisfying. it was a pleasure to sit down and hear the exciting stories whether they were surviving hurricanes, seeing israeli jets go overhead as they picked up hashish in beirut, lebanon, during the mid middle of the civil war. all of it was a lot of fun. >> for more information on booktv's recent trip to charleston, south carolina, visit content. >> what are you reading this

Book TV
CSPAN July 31, 2011 10:00am-11:15am EDT

2011 PEN World Voices Festival Freedom to... Education. (2011) Wole Soyinka.

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